Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James was named today as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played in the month of January.
James averaged 30.7 points on .503 shooting, 7.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists in 39.1 minutes per game, leading the Cavs to an NBA-best 12-3 (.800) record for the month of January. Their 12 wins also marked the Cavaliers most wins in any January in franchise history and the team finished January by winning their final eight games of the month. The Cavs currently stand at a league-best 39-11 and own a season-high nine-game winning streak. James has now won the award for the 14th time in his career: for the third consecutive month this season, four times in 2008-09; two times during 2007-08, once in 2006-07, twice in 2005-06 and twice during the 2004-05 campaign. During the month, James ranked first in points per game (30.7), second in assists per game (8.5) and fifth in steals per game (1.6) among Eastern Conference players. He scored 20 or more points in 14 of the 15 games this month, including nine games of 30 or more points.
In a 106-94 victory over the Trail Blazers on January 10th, James scored 41 points on 13-19 (.648) shooting from the field, added 10 rebounds and eight assists. It marked his fifth game this season of at least 40 points (tied with Carmelo Anthony for the second-most 40-point games this season) and notched his league-leading third game of the season with at least 40 points and at least 10 rebounds.
James knocked down a season-best six three-pointers on his way to a game-high 37 points versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 23rd. He also tallied nine rebounds, a then season-high tying 12 assists and blocked Kevin Durant’s game-winning layup attempt in the closing seconds of the game.
He scored 12 points in the final period, including the go-ahead basket with 40.5 seconds left that put the Cavaliers up for good in their 93-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at The Q on January 21st. He finished with a game-high 37 points, five rebounds and nine assists. The win gave the Cavaliers a season sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers for the third time in the past four seasons. In the Cavs’ 92-91 victory at Miami, James scored a Heat opponent record tying 20 points in the second quarter on his way to a team-high 32 points. It marked his 10th career 30-point game against Miami. His steal of a Dwyane Wade pass with 6.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave him the 900th steal of his career and after being fouled, he hit two game-winning free throws.
In the final game of the month vs. the Clippers at home, he scored 23 of his game-high 32 points in the first quarter, while knocking down 5-6 (.833) shots from behind the arc and tying a Cavaliers individual record for three-pointers made in a period. The Cavaliers also tied the NBA record for total three-pointers made in a period, with 11 that night. His 23 points also tied a Quicken Loans Arena individual record for points in a period and was one point away from his franchise record. James has now scored at least 20 points in a period four times this season (three of them in the last 10 games) and 10 in his career.
The New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul was named the Western Conference Player of the Month. Other nominees for Eastern Conference Player of the Month presented by Kia Motors were Boston’s Rajon Rondo, Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson, Chicago’s Derek Rose, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, and Toronto’s Chris Bosh.
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